Monday 3rd January 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Macquarie Harbour Penal Settlement on the west coast of Tasmania.
On 12th December 1821, two ships departed Hobart – the Sophia and the Prince Leopold – with the new settlement’s Commandant, Lieutenant John Cuthbertson, Assistant Colonial Surgeon James Spence, Pilot James Lucas, 16 soldiers of the 48th Regiment and 75 male and female convicts.
The 2 ships were separated on the voyage, with the Prince Leopold overshooting the mouth of the harbour in bad weather, and not arriving until 17th February 1822.
The Sophia arrived at Macquarie Heads on 30th December 1821, but took 4 days to arrive at the site of the new settlement
On 3rd January 1822, in “tempestuous and rainy weather”, Hobart Town’s Harbour Master and skipper of the Sophia, James Kelly, moored off Sarah Island and the Macquarie Harbour Penal Settlement began.
The 200th anniversary will be marked with a ‘Welcome to Country’, an acknowledgement of the original custodians of the west coast and a “re-enactment” of the first day of landing on Sarah Island.
The brigantine Windeward Bound will travel up from Hobart to be a part of the event.
The 200th anniversary event is to coincide with the times of the morning and afternoon cruises are on the island, arriving 4 times throughout the day (approx. 10:30am, 12:45pm, 4:30pm, 6:45pm).
The event will consist of a “landing” of convicts and soldiers. A small boat will be launched from the Windeward Bound with ’soldiers and convicts’ aboard, rowed to the island, and land on the beach below the boardwalk.
Visitors will be welcomed to the island with a ‘Welcome to Country’ then watch as the soldiers and convicts arrive on the island and unload ’supplies’, as part of the 1 hour guided tour around Sarah Island.
To be a part of the 200th anniversary event:
1. Book a cruise with World Heritage Cruises or Gordon River Cruises (morning or afternoon)
2. Book a berth on the Windeward Bound, sailing to Sarah Island for the full day and staying on board overnight, or sail from Hobart and celebrate New Year’s Eve at sea.
For further details on how to book these cruises, please contact:
World Heritage Cruises
PO Box 93, Strahan TAS 7468 Australia
Phone: 61 3 6471 7174
Gordon River Cruises
The Esplanade, Strahan TAS 7468 Australia
Phone: 61 3 6471 4300
GPO Box 1330, Hobart TAS 7001 Australia
Phone: 0438 120 599
For more information, please contact The Round Earth Company. Contact details below.